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Manchester City vs Liverpool - Team News and Potential Lineups

LFC Globe
3rd January 2019
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Image: Getty Images

Liverpool's true title credentials will be put to the test against champions Man City, with victory giving them a major advantage in the hunt for the Premier League.

Thursday's night fixture at the Etihad could open up a 10 point gap between the Reds and Pep Guardiola's side, should the visitors come away with a win.

With Liverpool unbeaten so far this season, the hope will be they can keep up their momentum and, at the minimum, maintain the seven point lead over City.

Whilst it is still too early in the season for the game to be considered a 'title decider', manager will know a favourable result would put his side in a fantastic position to start the year.

should be available for the clash, with the midfielder returning to training this week after a spell out with a hamstring injury.

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“He was back in training with us yesterday for the first time, so we will see,” Jürgen Klopp confirmed during his pre-City press conference on Wednesday.

and remain sidelined before returns later this month, whilst Liverpool have an otherwise fit squad, barring long-term absentees and .

The boss will have some big decisions to make with his tactics, particularly the formation and system of his midfield set-up.

Liverpool's back-line picks itself, with the impressive , , and ahead of goalkeeper Alisson.

The Reds' attacking trio of , and are certain to start, with the midfield behind them the hardest to predict.

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The personnel used in the middle of the park will be down to the system Klopp chooses, with the boss capable of approaching the game in two different ways.

Klopp could opt to stick with an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation, with and playing as the deepest lying midfielders.

That would leave or as the third midfielder, although this may represent an unnecessary defensive gamble in such a huge fixture.

Therefore, a switch back to 4-3-3 is also on the cards, with Klopp known for preferring a solid workman-like midfield against bigger opponents - although that has changed of late.

Wijnaldum is almost certain to start in midfield, whilst skipper could be drafted in to replace , after being on the substitutes bench in Saturday's 5-1 win over .

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The boss could also then turn to Milner as the third midfielder, with the tried and tested trio featuring in several big games last season.

It's tricky to tell how the Reds may line up, with anything but a loss deemed to be a positive result in a game of such magnitude.

Meanwhile, Man City will hand a late fitness test to Kevin De Bruyne, with the midfielder missing their 3-1 win at with muscle soreness.

The Belgian is expected to play a part, with Guardiola saying: “He trained today. But tomorrow we need another check in the morning, but he is much better.”

Ilkay Gundogan is also set for a return after being sidelined with a knock, whilst Fabian Delph (suspension) and Benjamin Mendy (knee) are ruled out.

Potential Lineups

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Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Man City: Ederson, Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sane, Aguero, Sterling.

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